Embedded Linux is a type of Linux operating system/kernel that is designed to be installed and used within embedded devices and appliances.
It is a compact version of Linux that offers features and services in line with the operating and application requirement of the embedded system.
Linux is a free operating system that is becoming more and more important in embedded applications. An embedded system is a combination of computer hardware and software residing in a bigger device. It is completely encapsulated by that device. Mostly the embedding device is controlled by these systems. Other tasks are doing the communication between multiple pieces of equipment or forming a man-machine interface for machines. Embedded systems perform only one or a few strictly predefined tasks, quite contrary to a desktop computer, for example.
An embedded Linux is typically aligned to the hardware and the application it is intended to be used with, while a ”normal” Linux system is commonly more generic. In most cases, a ”normal” Linux kernel is able to run on different machines; an embedded Linux kernel may get into difficulties when doing so.
The Linux kernel is highly configurable. It is possible to select the features supported by your processor, device drivers, file systems, buses and so on. In this way, you can build a kernel that is ideally customized for your appliance. In most cases you can decide whether a kernel component should be integrated into the kernel or if it should be compiled as a module.
Android OS is a type of embedded Linux, customized to be used on smartphones. Other devices on which embedded Linux is used include:
- Smart TVs
- Wireless routers
- Tablet PCs
- Navigation devices
- Other industrial and consumer electronic equipment
The advantages of embedded Linux over proprietary embedded operating systems include:
- Multiple suppliers for software, development and support
- No royalties or licensing fees
- A stable kernel
- The ability to read, modify and redistribute the source code
Want to know more about embedded Linux systems? Tonex offers Embedded Linux System Overview, a 2-day course that gives participants a solid understanding of Linux kernel and libraries and utilities for embedded applications.
Additionally, Tonex offers nearly 400 classes, seminars and workshops in close to four dozen categories of systems engineering training.
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